Lambchop – The Bible (City Slang)

Lambchop – The Bible (City Slang)

“The older you get you say, “Jesus, how much I got?” I got thirty-five summers left.” These are the words of Benny – played with a sardonic, world-weariness by Tom Waits – in the film Rumblefish. On ‘The Song Is Sung’ – the opening track on The BibleKurt Wagner sings “now these days are measured by the number, thirty summers from today.” And the concept of time does connect Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 movie and Lambchop’s 16th album, but whereas Rumblefish marks both a coming-of-age for its central characters and the realisation of an end to a particular period in their lives, for Kurt Wagner it merely signals a new beginning.

And with that comes yet more artistic opportunities for the man who has been, and still very much is Lambchop, though this time round he again collaborates with Ryan Olson and Andrew Broder on the writing and production process for The Bible just as he had done three years ago on This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You). The results are as creatively diverse as they are spiritually spectacular.

The Bible stretches from the sweeping cinematic grandeur of ‘The Song Is Sung’ across the dance-infused splendour of ‘Little Black Boxes’ – in which only Kurt Wagner’s tell-tale vocoder voice reveals that this is actually Lambchop who are playing – to the album’s lead single ‘Police Dog Blues’ where he reimagines the American blues and ragtime singer Blind Blake’s 1929 song of the same name within the contemporary civil unrest of his home city of Minneapolis. As the latter gathers further momentum amidst a blare of horns, the squall of some Ernie Isley-inspired guitar, and Madison Hallman’s spiralling voice  – eerily redolent of Merry Clayton on the Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’ – it is a song that transcends both time and place.

The relative tranquility of ‘So There’ combines with the textured goodness of the concluding ‘That’s Music’ to bring us gently back to an earth that Kurt Wagner and Lambchop continue to grace with great emotional resilience and a winning combination of transcendental acuity, refined invention, and an often uninhibited joy. Much as Coppola had done for cinema nearly forty years ago with Rumblefish, Wagner has repeated the feat here with The Bible by creating an expressionistic, existential musical masterpiece.

The Bible by Lambchop is released through City Slang on 30th September 2022

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